Our eCommerce veterans and podcast hosts Andrew Youderian and Drew Sanocki are back for a look at the biggest news in the world of eCommerce. We’ve got some not surprising news about mobile (depending on who you ask) and lots of updates from the Google ecosystem. Here’s a look at what everyone is talking about in September.
Mobile is (Almost) Running the World
According to a recent study by Shopify among their own merchants, mobile now makes up the majority of online shoppers. A staggering 50.3% of all store visits came from mobile devices. We’ve heard it all before: mobile’s coming, mobile’s coming, mobile’s coming! And now it’s here.
The conversion rate, however, is still abysmal with mobile traffic. Rapid payment tends to be one of the culprits as entering billing and credit card information on a mobile device is somewhat cumbersome. One of the easiest ways to pay on mobile is PayPal – as it requires just a password and email address – and it’s a great first step for improving mobile conversion rates.
Google Authorship is Zip, Zilch, Gone!
No, we aren’t rehashing a story from last month. This time around, Google has gone a step further and axed the entire authorship program as reported by Search Engineland. They made the claim that 70% of authors weren’t using it and it wasn’t affecting click behavior for people in the search results. The reaction out there seems to be mixed. Some feel that this is causing a bit of a trust burnout with Google whereas others believe they’re probably telling the truth and it was an experiment that wasn’t panning out. Either way, if Google keeps up their rich history of axing projects and ranking requirements, people likely will be less likely to jump through hoops to get ahead in rankings.
Google to Use Secure Pages as a Ranking Signal
When you check out on an eCommerce site, you get https:// which signals a secure SSL connection. Google now wants people to move their entire site to a secure connection according to GlobeRunner, and indicated they’ll be favoring such sites in the SERPs moving forward. Whether its a good idea or not, its another hoop site owners will have to jump through.
Site wide SSL sounds great in theory, but it comes with a number of potential headaches. First, secured pages can’t have any outbound links or requests to non-secured sites. So to come into compliance, most sites will need to do a site-wide audit, which will be especially time consuming for larger sites. And while some of the speed issues can be mitigated, SSL pages are usually slower than non-secured pages, especially upon the initial page load.
Given the associated headaches and Google’s growing fickle reputation (see above), it will be interesting to see how widely this is adopted by store owners.
AdWords Introduces Call Tracking—Finally!
The AdWords blog announced they finally rolled out native integration for call tracking. Here’s how it works: Google will dynamically change your phone number which then forwards to your actual number so you can track which ad generates the most calls and how well that ad is performing. The one thing you can’t track, however, is conversions to link phone calls to ads that lead to purchases.
While it’s starting to encroach on their territory, there’s still room for 3rd party call tracking tools, like Call Rail. Unlike Google Adwords’ new functionality, the service tracks which organic keywords results in the most calls – something Google hasn’t shared for a while now.
Popular Forum Discussions
Some of our most popular feeds in the forum this month ranged from what it’s like to be in the eCommerce biz to the pro’s and con’s of selling a proprietary product on Amazon.
What Do You Say When People Ask “What Do You Do?”
Lots of eCommerce entrepreneurs weighed in on this topic. How does one explain that selling CB radios online doesn’t mean peddling old timey radios out of the garage? Or that being a “consultant” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working from home in pajamas all day. (Though hey, sometimes it happens.) Though many folks talked about how hard it is to explain what running an eCommerce business means, the online retail niche has finally started to be part of the norm and luckily is gaining respect now too.
Should I Let Amazon Sell My Proprietary Product?
This scenario speaks specifically to when Amazon approaches you and wants to stock and sell your product directly vs the much more popular model of selling through Amazon’s marketplace. There were strong opinions on both sides of the issues from seasoned merchants with both success – and horror – stories.
Your item may rank a bit better if Amazon is stocking your product. Additionally, if Amazon isn’t buying from you, they may buy a similar product from someone else. But there are definitely some disadvantages. You won’t get full retail pricing and your cost to sell through Amazon is probably 20% by the time you pay Amazon and all their fees.
No definitive answer came out of the discussion, but a lot of great perspectives and insights were shared. If this is something you’ve had success (or distress) about, let us know in the comments.